Wikipedia defines a Safari as:
A safari /səˈfɑri/ is an overland journey, usually a trip by tourists to Africa. In earlier years, the trip was a big-game hunt, but today, safari often refers to trips to observe and photograph wildlife—or hiking and sight-seeing. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safari)
The Swahili word safari means journey, originally from the Arabic word safarīyah, and entered the English language in the 1850’s. Modern safari’s are a far cry from the early days of pioneering in Africa….nowadays they are well run operations generally in wildlife reseves and protected areas and photography and identifying new species forms a major component of safaris today.
Thanks to Digital Cameras, photography is accessible to many more people nowdays than in the days of 35mm film cameras. Today photography attracts millions of people who want to take a great photo, record a situation, an animal or landscape or even take a “selfie”. The internet and magazines are stacked full of fantastic pictures of wild life and nature with many of the images being taken by hobby photographers… its not just the professionals who spend hours behind their cameras.
The game reserves in Southern Africa provide photographers with exceptional opportunities for wild life pictures and video. Certainly, many of these Game Parks allow you to do self drives through the reserves…..meaning you can take your time, stop and take photos wherever and whenever you want to.
The interest in birdwatching has grown immensley over the years and today birdwatching is more popular than ever. Many people from around the world travel to specific locations (often outside their home country or local area) to identify bird species that they havent seen before. Southern Africa is recognised as a top birding location globally and birding tourism is a growing market for the region. The activity of watching birds can take on a few forms, generally depending on the intensity of that activity. Here’s a few terms used in birdwatching activities:
Birdwatching: a general term for the activity of watching birds
Birding: a hobby where individuals enjoy the various challenges associated with studying and identifying birds
Birder: the accepted term for people who do birding. Can be professional or amateur
Twitcher: the term used for people who will put great effort into identifying a previously located rare bird by traveling to the location where that bird has recently been seen. The bird is then added to a life list.
Life List: a list of bird species seen by the individual
Whatever catagory you fall into, if you like birds then follow us and visit our website from time to time….we’ll keep updating the site with new locations, photos and videos of birds.
Check out our Links Page for more information on Birds and Birding.
Walking or Hiking Safaris
There are a number of game reserves in the region where Walking Safaris are offered. Some of the most popular are offered in BIG 5 Game Reserves and are often booked out months in advance. Kruger Park, for example, offers a few Walking Safaris where a small group of people, accompanied by two or more Game Rangers, walk through more remote areas of the park that the regular traveler doesnt have access to. The group sleeps out in the bush, either in tents or small remote camps used specifically for these Walking Safaris. The idea is not necesarily to seek out the Big 5 but rather to experience the bushveld on foot. The Game Ranger guides are very knowledgable and readily share information about plants and animals and their inter-connectedness.
Our website does not cover hunting safaris.
Hunting of wild animals is probably the most topical and contentious issue related to safari tourism. As individuals we are either pro hunting or against it with little middle ground for most people.
Our stance is simply that MyVirtualSafari supports the long term conservation of natural areas and wildlife in them. We are certainly against any forms of “Canned Hunting” and non-ethical practices.